Holiday Beer Book Gift Guide

Since you are reading this now, I surmise that you may enjoy reading about beer, or know someone who does. Print media may be dying, but beer books seem to be alive and well. So this year we have compiled a list of both brand new beer books as well as some older favorites. Convenient links to purchase/order on amazon are provided.

Drink Better Beer

Another year, another beer book by Brooklyn author Joshua Bernstein. His latest might be the most handsomest tome yet, a maroon colored fabric hardcover with orange imprint and edges.

Drink Better Beer is basically a literary guide to becoming a beer geek. If it was one of those “How To” style series it would be called How To Become a Beer Snob for Dummies. But that’s really diminishing what’s contained in Drink Better Beer’s 224 pages.

Bernstein is an established author who regularly contributes to both beer publications and mainstream media articles. He is the in-house beer contributor for Portland-based Imbibe Magazine and Drink Better Beer is his fifth beer book.

In Drink Better Beer, Bernstein calls on his many industry contacts and his own expertise for pro-tips on everything from tasting beer to choosing the right glassware and food pairings. Want to learn how to evaluate beer properly with a few sniffs? Drink Better Beer has got you covered. Want to school your beer newb friends about the proper glassware for a Kolsch? Drink Better Beer can help. Need to figure out the right beer to bring to a Scandinavian dinner party? Bernstein has thoughts.

Simple Homebrewing: Great Beer, Less Work, More Fun 

Drew Beechum and Denny Conn are two of America’s most prolific homebrewing gurus and they got together for a new book to make homebrewing easy. Homebrew books are numerous but Simple Homebrewing is possibly the most up-to-date and approachable homebrewing how-to on the market today.

Simple Homebrewing is a guide to brewing the best beer possible with the simplest, easy to understand processes. Beechum and Conn know that most of us don’t have all day to grain out or measure the water chemistry of a homebrew. This book will take you through the basic fundamentals of brewing through malt extract to all-grain, designing your own recipe, and other tips and tricks to make homebrew easy and good.

Southern Oregon Beer History

In Oregon, when we talk about the states brewing history it’s usually about Portland or Bend. But what about southern Oregon? It turns out the whole state has been pioneering the craft beer movement since the nineteenth-century and Phil Busse book chronicles this often overlooked part of our history.

The Southern Oregon Beer History book describes the stories told as ones of “gold rushes, brawling German immigrants, irrepressible women and hometown pride.” It starts with two brewing pioneers in the boomtown of Jackson, Oregon, where the first customers were mostly miners and ranchers. With the spread of the railroad system across the country, breweries soon became popping up everywhere with the sudden ease of obtaining goods and faster travel. You will read about the onset of prohibition, the fights of beer barons and rival brands, resourceful hop farmers and twenty-first century brewers who are still here today.

Draught Beer Quality Manual

An essential tome for professionals in the industry or even homebrewers or afficionados that have their own home draft systems. The Draught Beer Quality Manual has been around for awhile, but the Brewers Association just released an updated 4th printing earlier this year. Read more about it here.

Viking Age Brew: Reviving the Sahti

We featured this book that digs in to ancient beer styles like the Sahti back in July, check out the article here. If you are interested in brewing obscure historic beer styles like gruits, herbal beers, spontaneously fermented beers in wooden logs and other strange but authentic beers with foraged ingredients, than this book is for you.

Cheese Beer Wine Cider: A Field Guide to 75 Perfect Pairings

The new book by Portland’s own world champion cheesemonger Steve Jones and co-writer Adam Lindsley delves in to the the art of beer and cider pairings. From having worked with Steve Jones, I can tell you he has a nose and taste for beer and cheese pairings and you will not leave this book disappointed. Snobs like to think cheese is best paired with wine, but Jones and Lindsley dispell that myth and tell you about 75 of the best pairings imaginable, as well as tell you how to make your own. PS, Steve Jones owns Portland’s Cheese Bar and has just announced a new monthly cheese club.

Gardening for the Homebrewer

If you enjoy homebrewing, or even i you are a prossional brewer, than growing your own ingredients may be of interest. Gardening for the Homebrewer will cultivate a green thumb into a lupulin stained hop hand capable of making your own estate beers.

Brewing great beer requires great agricultural ingredients, that extends to the barley and the hops but also fruits, vegetables and other spices. Grow your own and you can be more connected to your craft and understanding of the entire ecosystem of beer.

This book will guide you into growing your own barley, hops, and even herbs. How about how to store and dry hops off the bine? If you are into gardening or farming, or want to be, than this book is for you.

Beer Hiking Pacific Northwest

The New School’s occasional northern Washington beer contributor Brandon Fralic and his partner Rachel Wood wrote this handy pocket-sized guide to beer and hiking.

In 2013 Fralic and Wood launched the site Beers at the Bottom from their home in Bellingham, Washington. For years they have hiked the trails of the pacific northwest and without fail found the nearest craft beers at the bottom. Fifty of their favorite PNW beer hikes are featured in the book, all of them lasting between one and six hour jaunts. Each one paired with a nearby brewery or brewpub.

Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: